Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Greener Henley: Julia Samyui-Adams

Greener Henley: Julia Samyui-Adams

Julia Samyui-Adams is a 50-year-old Pilates instructor. She lives in Henley with her husband Kris and daughter Olivia, 10

WHAT I have noticed as I have begun to make small changes is that you start to think about things a bit more, rather than just blindly continuing with the habits that you have established, and it begins to snowball.

Take laundry. I’ve started washing almost all my laundry at 30oC degrees — such a small and easy change. The odd load benefits from a higher temperature but 30oC is fine for most of it.

For years and years I had been washing at high temperatures just because the washing machine had that setting for the fabric type. I clearly didn’t have my brain engaged.

Encouraged by this, I’ve experimented with shortening the program cycle and lowering the spin as well as cutting how much detergent I use.

Now, instead of just following what the detergent brand is telling me to do, I’ve reduced detergent to about a third of what I was using.

I’ve also discovered the refill stations at the True Food Co-op in Emmer Green (just take along an empty container and fill up with a variety of household liquids, including laundry detergent, rinse aid, washing up liquid etc.)

Their products are kind to the environment too — another thing I had gradually forgotten to pay enough attention to over the years.

My daughter has been encouraging me to avoid using the tumble drier (a big energy user, as pointed out to her by
youngclimatewarriors.org who are helping to educate primary school children in Henley).

Now I am thinking ahead more, considering what to wash and when, depending on the wind/sun/air temperature, and have almost no need for the drier.

This is probably the trickiest part as sometimes you can’t wash things when you want to because they won’t dry and we all have limited spare time for dealing with a backlog, but with practice I’m getting better at managing this.

The great thing is that these are all small changes, adding up to a fair amount of energy not being used as well as money being saved.

In moving away from the habits I’d become accustomed to, I feel far more aware that I do have choices and my choices have a real impact, which is very empowering, not to mention making me feel so much happier about my impact on the planet.

All that was required really was a bit of focus on the goal and some thought on a daily basis.

I read a quote the other day from Dr Jane Goodall: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

I almost didn’t go to the Greener Henley workshop as it was a big commitment of time and I felt I was already quite aware of many of the issues and was actively making changes at home, but I’m so glad I did. Not only did I meet like-minded individuals and get a great pack of resources to take home, but I also came away with a feeling of community — a sense that there are lots of other people in and around Henley who feel just like I do and want to do whatever they can in the face of the climate crisis. This is hugely encouraging.

Sometimes it’s hard to see how what you do as an individual is making a difference but what we do as a community really adds up and for me this makes the world feel like a better place.

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